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Just as physical walls have come down in office spaces in recent years, so too have the informal barriers that have long prevented workplaces from being fun environments.

The concept of the open office with a mix of desks, couches, benches and recreational activities is making its way from nimble startups to the highest levels of corporate America. Walls and private offices are being replaced with long benches and sit-to-stand desks, as well as private areas where employees can get away to focus. These trends were on full display this week in Chicago at NeoCon trade show.

As new car sales continue to grow, automakers and their suppliers have shifted into investment mode to meet increasing production schedules, lifting their self-imposed moratorium on increasing capacity in the post-recession era.

One West Michigan manufacturer of overhead crane systems wants to drive future growth by expanding its service offerings.

A protracted labor dispute that slowed the shipment of products through ports on the West Coast has forced some West Michigan manufacturers to rethink their just-in-time production model.

As global equipment manufacturers jockey to supply the $19.6 billion craft brewing industry, one West Michigan entrepreneur has positioned his company to serve amateur brewers who make beer in their garages and basements.

It is not unusual for companies to find themselves wondering from time to time just how big of a market a given component has.

As many Michigan employers continue to struggle to find the talent they need to operate their businesses, Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced the initial round of appointments to the board of directors for the state’s new Talent Investment Agency (TIA). Kenyatta Brame, executive vice president at Grand Rapids-based Cascade Engineering Inc., is among the handful of business executives, educators and professionals from across the state who were appointed to serve on the board. Brame spoke with MiBiz shortly after his appointment to discuss strategies the state can implement to more effectively recruit and retain the talent that Michigan companies need to grow.

While workforce development and attraction requires a range of strategies, West Michigan manufacturers have begun to embrace an apprenticeship model of continuing education to combat the so-called talent gap.

The latest sales figures and a quarterly activity index show the office furniture industry on strong footing heading into next month’s NeoCon trade show in Chicago.

What began as a pilot program in 2014 to assist Michigan companies in training their workers has gained steam in its second year as growing manufacturers continue to clamor for help in retaining and attracting employees.

The trade-offs that are made to gain improvements in fuel economy and emissions reductions can spawn new needs and create opportunities for enterprising component suppliers.

The new owners of Grandville-based Jireh Metal Products Inc. hope that the traditional manufacturing company can benefit from some growth and leadership strategies gleaned from their experience in other industries.

One West Michigan research and engineering firm plans to develop the next iteration of a new composite thermoforming technology thanks to a grant from Detroit-based NextEnergy.

West Michigan OEMs have started to spread their firsthand knowledge on sustainable business practices throughout their supply chains to help shorten the learning curve for their suppliers.

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